Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Hip, boss, groovy, outtasite, tubular, gnarly, rad, dope, wicked, tight, sick, def, phat, sweet, kewl and bomb. What do all these words have in common? They represent “cool” wannabe slang that fade in and out of usage, while “cool” itself has endured since the 50’s across all generations.

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In my last blog, I addressed how marketers’ utilize exclusivity as a strategy to lure consumers. Add “cool” to their playbook of consumer marketing hooks. Now readers, do you want to be known as being “cool” or being a “nerd?” Cool equates to being in the know. Being in the know means you are one of the “in crowd.” Trust me, marketing geeks use “cool” as a ploy for those consumers that feel insecure about whether they are connected to the ‘in crowd.” Let me share a few classic examples:

- Facebook – Why has Facebook surpassed MySpace to become the #1 social networking site? Answer: Facebook now has over 200 million connected users worldwide. To put things in perspective, if Facebook where a country, it would be the firth-largest country in the world after China, India, the U.S. and Indonesia. Now that is “sweet.” You might want to tweet your friends with that piece of trivia.

- Red Bull – What makes Red Bull the #1 energizer drink in the world “def?” Answer: The buzz. There are 83 mg of caffeine in every can of Red Bull, compared to 27 mg of caffeine in a can of Coke Classic. Three times the buzz. Oh by the way, have you ever tasted Red Bull?

- iPod – Why has Apple sold close to 200 million iPods since they first launched their innovative portable digital music players back in October of 2001? Answer: Their highly recognizable advertising campaign with the dark silhouetted figures dancing against bright colored backgrounds attracted everyone who wanted to become part of the “in crowd”, therefore jump on the “rad” bandwagon.

So the next time you see someone sitting in a public place with their Apple notebook opened to Facebook, tweeting their friends that they are listening to T.I. on their iPod, sipping on a can of Red Bull, you will realize they are multi-tasking. Multi-tasking is “bomb.”

SMARTKETING’s slang wannabe for “cool?” Refrigerated!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Everyone wants to feel special. As a result, exclusivity is a clever ploy used to lure people to subscribe to a service or buy a product. Just ask those select members of Bernard L. Madoff’s investment community.

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Bernard L. Madoff might go down in history as the greatest Ponzi schemer of all time, thanks to his $65 billion fraudulent investment enterprise. Compared to most Ponzi artists, who prey on a growing supply of fresh, ignorant victims to keep their scheme rolling, Madoff swindled rich people by implementing an exclusivity strategy. He positioned himself as a financial snob closing his fund to new investors. Accordingly, individuals interested in joining his circle would need a special introduction. Even after he accepted people’s money, “Uncle Bernie”, as he was called by his peers, would maintain an air of reluctance, conning people into starting with small investments the first year or two, yielding large returns, before he hooked them for big bucks. Everyone felt special – they were a member of “Uncle Bernie’s” exclusive club.

The exclusivity strategy can also be utilized when marketing consumer goods. Nike has capitalized on this strategy with exclusive sneaker releases. Their most successful being NBA superstar LeBron James’s Zoom series – 3,000 to 5,000 pairs per edition retailing at $140. Like any collectibles, these sneakers will end up selling for a higher price than their original store price, based on condition, rarity and Lebron’s star power. The ultimate Nike sneaker will be released in the fourth quarter of 2009, the “Gucci” themed Dunk High that has been in the hopper since 2006. Right now there are less than 30 pairs in existence, but soon they will be available at select Nike accounts.

Sounds like it is time for me to join the exclusive Nike club, shop on E-Bay to see if I can track down my own pair of “Gucci” Dunk Highs, size 9.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Lessons from Great Artists & Architects

In my last blog posting, America’s Coach, I indicated that I have been inspired by some great people I never met, artists and architects that have guided me on my business journey. The list is long: Leger, Matisse, Picasso, Chagall, Miro, Calder, Dali, Neel, I. M. Pei and Frank Gehry.

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Detailed below are the lessons I have learned from my favorite artists and architects:

- You must start with traditional training before you can breakout and create new ideas.
- Simplicity.
- Scale – sketches that lead to large masterpieces.
- There is no instant gratification when it comes to artistic creation.
- Artists serve people and live in a commercial world, but they need to discover how they can step outside the norm, take risks and slice their sliver/niche.
- When artists/creative people step outside the norm they must accept criticism, wear it like an article of clothing for a while, then toss it and move on.
- What makes it all worth it (the thrill) is the process of pulling together an achievement.
- Don’t compromise your values.
- Treat each client differently and special.
- Harmony = Balance.

One final thought. Each one of the individuals on my list were larger than life, thus taught me the value of Joie de Vivre, the Joy of Living.

Friday, April 3, 2009

America’s Coach

I have benefited from the wisdom of some great mentors, my parents and a select handful of business colleagues. I have even obtained wisdom from people I have never met, great artists, architects and business gurus like America’s Coach, Marshall Goldsmith (

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Thanks to a recent misunderstanding with a client, I was reminded of a great Marshall Goldsmith article published in Fast Company magazine, Finding the Upside of Anger ( In this article, Marshall addresses how we tend to focus negative energy in the form of anger directed at individuals that drive us crazy. We relive times when this individual was inconsiderate/ungrateful. Utilizing a Buddhist parable, Marshall taught me to redirect my energy towards making some behavioral changes to better navigate my business journey in the future.

Several years ago I took the initiative and connected with Marshall via email. Great guy! A Globe Trotter that always gets back to me when I reach out to him. Very generous in sharing some of his teachings – articles that he has published or plans to get published. I also highly recommend his book, one of the best leadership books I have read, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There a New York Times best seller. Hopefully, someday I will get to meet Marshall in person, but for now he has been a great mentor from a far.

Marshall Goldsmith walks the talk and is America’s Coach.